The Perils of Ambition: Macbeth and The Crucible 12th Grade

Shakespeare’s Macbeth, written in 1623, and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, written in 1953, are both historical plays based on a character’s extreme behaviors that have stemmed from evil desires and ulterior motives. Miller and Shakespeare set their plays in secluded religious societies that help in the progress of either mass hysteria or individual paranoia. The two authors make the audience second-guess themselves in their disturbing plays by using symbolic concepts that deconstruct the ideology of good and evil. Additionally, with corruption of power, female characters from both stories challenge the men they love to further their own needs. These stories panic, overwhelm, and frustrate their audiences with the twists and turns of their problematic characters and plot. Although ambition is a great motivator for success, it can become an unforgivable force where goals distort to work against you.

Shakespeare and Miller use fragmented, obsessive, and repetitive language structure in their texts when challenging their audience to consider the implications of hysteria. Individual madness is used by Shakespeare in his story as it drives Lady Macbeth into suicide and makes Macbeth delusional and irrational. Contrastingly mass...

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